Thursday, September 24th, 2009 at
My husband Kelly and I recently came back to Mexico after ten weeks in Colorado, mostly in the town where we used to live. One unexpected part of the trip was having quite a few chances to speak Spanish.
One woman we met spoke Spanish because she was born in the US of Mexican parents. Her husband is from northern Mexico, and we spoke Spanish with him too. Once, when we happened to run into them in a store, they introduced us to another friend of theirs, a man who is from Jalisco, the state we live in here in Mexico. We were quite a jolly bunch, chorusing “Viva Jalisco!”
There were any number of other people we chatted with in Spanish. Sometimes I would overhear people speaking Spanish and would strike up a conversation, or at other times, we chatted with people we had known before we came to live in Mexico. I was interested to notice two things:
- A lot of the people who were born in the US , or went there very young, tend to have an American accent in speaking Spanish.
- They also tended to have a little more trouble following my Spanish, even though I certainly have a (thick) American accent. I imagine that this is because they have virtually no experience in listening to foreigners speaking Spanish… after all, in the US, English is the first language! Also, I think their vocabularies may be smaller than that of the average Mexican.
I was amused when we chatted with one woman we had knownbefore we moved down here; she had given Kelly some lessons in conversational Spanish. This summer, she spoke slowly and carefully at first, and then when I indicated I was following everything she said, she shifted into high gear as only a Latina can! I still followed the gist but did miss a few words.
Anyway, it was fun, and now that we are back in Mexico, we are speaking a lot more Spanish again. Actually, in the US, Kelly and I continued the habit we have of using a lot of everyday Spanish words in interacting with each other. Once in the grocery store this summer, I called out to Kelly down the aisle in Spanish, “Mi querido, quieres chocolate hoy?” I did get a couple of funny looks from other shoppers. Oh well.
We flew from Denver to Phoenix, then Phoenix to Guadalajara. On the second flight, we had a chance to start chatting in Spanish, as most of the passengers were Mexican and we had a delay leaving Phoenix. And in the taxi from the airport to our home in Mexico, our Spanish got a great workout with the friendly driver.